Oregon Trail’s narrative consists of using specific elements and rules the game offers to reach the destination Oregon while exploring different facets of the game’s environment within given time frames.
Primary Historical Argument?
The historical argument presented by this game sheds light on how Americans at the time were able to embark on travel while being limited to older resources and commodities, like the use of wagons and oxen. Thus, the simulation of a journey by wagon, allowing the player to choose a pace at which to play, and the rest of concepts in the game reflecting 1848 America makes for an interactively subjective experience in which one experiments through active participation. At the same time, the west seems to be represented through the sense of travel, trade, occupation and hunting; on the other hand, there seems to be ranking scale with what occupations are offered. For example, doctors get a substantial amount of money to start off with buying supplies, giving them an upper hand, but also being wise about the time one embarks on travel. In retrospect, societal ranks provide different approaches to reaching the end goal.
Treatment of women, Native Americans, Latinx, and African American?
Treatment of Native Americans did not seem insulting nor for Latinx, women, or African American. In my first playthrough, trading with Native Americans seemed to lean more on commodity products like clothes, wagon axles and wheels, while African Americans followed the same pattern but including livestock. Although, Latinx, Africans, women and Natives did speak more of tragedy and suffering that befell them. In addition, it seems that women tend to live longer within the game’s confines.
Who’s the main protagonist? Why would that matter?
The main protagonist may lean towards a white male leading his family towards Oregon, considering the many occupations that may have been predominantly occupied by Anglo-Saxons. For example, our character was a wealthy doctor, so players tend to start off with more money than the rest of the occupations offered in the games and the crew tends to heal a lot quicker as well, which helps. I feel that this matters to know because it sheds light on the different trajectories each player may have in a simulation run that mimics what life may have been like in the 1848 Americas.
Overall effectiveness of game? I think the game incorporates certain elements of choice when you can limit yourself or make the best use of, depending on choice and outcome. Due to the replayability of the game, one as a player can explore other narrative specific elements with each character/occupation offered to see how, for example, a blacksmith’s access to resources and wealth varies to a merchant.
Do the graphics matter?
For this particular game, graphics may not be the priority of the gameplay. More than anything, it is in the manner of the simulation that presents the artifacts of history—such as the wagon—in detail. In addition, the replayability of this game is what provides opportunities to reconstruct or rewrite a diegetic history (or story told) and the external facets (or extradiegetic) to the narrative, which depend more on choice than sheer graphics.